Aspiring authors, we know that it can be disheartening to look out into the abyss of potential publishing houses and only see the same old phrase, “no unsolicited manuscripts accepted.” These days many of the major publishing houses rely on their ties with literary agents and in-house promotions to find new authors. But don’t despair; today we’ve come up with a list of eight places — from off-the-beaten path publishers to special back doors of the big-name houses — that would welcome your query letter, manuscript or submission.
Harlequin E Shivers: Gothic romance writers — this one’s for you! Harlequin E Shivers is on the hunt for wonderfully dark and sensual gothic tales that feature scary settings and mysterious heroes. The publisher is currently accepting submissions now until August 2nd. All submissions will be personally evaluated by the E Shivers team and authors can expect responses by September 13. Learn more about this opportunity here.
Dreamspinner Press: This powerhouse publisher of M/M romance is looking for heartwarming short stories for their 2013 Advent Calendar line that take place around an end-of-the-year winter holiday. Stories must include romantic themes, which can range from first dates to reunions — anything that allows for a happy ending. Submissions close on August 1, so you better hurry and review the guidelines here!
Etopia Press: Open to all genres of romance, Etopia Press is currently seeking new stories and authors to add to their impressive and ever-growing roster. Their wish list ranges from Young Adult novels to romances with a twist of horror. To view their submission call list, visit their site here.
Cleis Press: While physical attraction is vital for any erotic tale, sometimes a sexy brain is just as appealing. If you’ve got a short, steamy tale featuring either a bookish librarian, gettin’ it on in the stacks or any other creative, library-oriented plot, it could be perfect for Cleis’ Sexy Librarian’s Big Book of Erotica. To get the details and see what editor Rose Caraway is looking for, click here. But hurry, because the deadline is tomorrow!
Entranced Publishing: Entranced Publishing is a digital press that publishes all kinds of love stories, but that doesn’t mean their editors don’t play favorites when it comes to plot! From historical to dystopian, you can learn what editors crave by checking out their Editor’s Wishlist here. Think Entranced has the right editor for your tale? Read their full submissions guidelines here.
InkSpell Publishing: InkSpell is currently accepting submissions for their three new imprints — Romance, Passion and Teen! Their Romance line specifically calls for contemporary-set love stories, while their Passion imprint is a bit steamier (although not erotic). Like their Romance line, InkSpell Teen calls for contemporary stories, but ones that feature protagonists ages 15-18. Manuscripts should be 20-50k words, and writers can find their full submission guidelines here.
Brighter Books: Noble isn’t the only indie press seeking YA. Canadian publisher Brighter Books is looking for more children’s books (including picture books), middle grade and YA to add to their collection of print and digital releases. They seek stories with a positive message, and are open to everything from cowboys to spaceships when it comes to sub-genres! Find out where you can mail a copy of your manuscript, and learn more about Brighter Books here.
Penguin Young Readers: Starting October 1, The Jim Henson Company and Penguin Young Readers Group are teaming up to find the next great author for a unique novel set in the world of Henson’s The Dark Crystal. So if you’ve got enough Gelfling fanfiction to fill a library, you might be just the writer they’re looking for. No need to have been previously published, newcomers are welcome! To get all of the nitty gritty details on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, click here.
Did we miss one of your favorite places to submit work? Let us know in the comments below. For more suggestions of establishments that may be a good fit for your manuscript you can check out our Agents List or our Publishers List. And of course, you can always find author advice, writing tips and more on our Aspiring Authors Page!